Policy Response, Social Media and Science Journalism for the Sustainability of the Public Health System Amid the COVID-19 Outbreak: The Vietnam Lessons

Sustainability 12:2931 (2020)
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Abstract

Vietnam, with a geographical proximity and a high volume of trade with China, was the first country to record an outbreak of the new Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), caused by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 or SARS-CoV-2. While the country was expected to have a high risk of transmission, as of April 4, 2020—in comparison to attempts to contain the disease around the world—responses from Vietnam are being seen as prompt and effective in protecting the interests of its citizens, with 239 confirmed cases and no fatalities. This study analyzes the situation in terms of Vietnam’s policy response, social media and science journalism. A self-made web crawl engine was used to scan and collect official media news related to COVID-19 between the beginning of January and April 4, yielding a comprehensive dataset of 14,952 news items. The findings shed light on how Vietnam—despite being under-resourced—has demonstrated political readiness to combat the emerging pandemic since the earliest days. Timely communication on any developments of the outbreak from the government and the media, combined with up-to-date research on the new virus by the Vietnamese science community, have altogether provided reliable sources of information. By emphasizing the need for immediate and genuine cooperation between government, civil society and private individuals, the case study offers valuable lessons for other nations concerning not only the concurrent fight against the COVID-19 pandemic but also the overall responses to a public health crisis.

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Author Profiles

H. Nguyen
Northwestern University
Manh-Toan Ho
Phenikaa University
Quan-Hoang Vuong
Phenikaa University

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